Manitoba

Blind photographer who uses cameras to 'bring the world in' speaks at human rights museum

A blind photographer from California is speaking at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Bruce Hall, who is legally blind, uses technology to see the world up close

Bruce Hall's autistic twin sons are captured in many of the photos that are on display at the CMHR. (Bruce Hall)

A blind photographer from California is speaking at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Bruce Hall will talk about art, ability, and perception in two sessions. His work is part of an exhibit called Sight Unseen, which features photography by blind artists, including his.

Hall was born with multiple eye conditions and is considered legally blind. He can see limited shapes but not detail, unless he gets very close up, he said.

"I use photography and technology and optical devices to see," said Hall.
Bruce Hall will speak about his work at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Wednesday. His work is being displayed there as part of the Sight Unseen exhibit, which features the work of blind photographers. (CBC)

Hall takes photos of the shapes he sees, and examines the photographs up close to see the details he couldn't see before.

"If I photographed you, I would go back home and get up three inches from the image, and that would fill in the rest of the information," said Hall.

"So, it's as though I see things twice. An impression of you, and then the detail."

Hall first became interested in photography when he was about nine or 10 years old. He had an old box camera in the early 1960s and would photograph things and get prints so he could see them up close.
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      "Other kids would look up at the sky and say, 'Oh, look at all the stars', and I saw black," he said.

      One day a neighbour let him hook his camera up to a telescope to see the stars. Hall began to use cameras, lenses, and magnifiers in order to see what he couldn't see on his own.

      "It dawned on me at a young age that optical devices and cameras could help me bring the world in."

      Hall has autistic twin sons, who are the subjects of many of his photos, as well as a book he and his wife Valerie wrote. The book is called Immersed: Our Experience with Autism and is expected to be published next month.

      Hall's photographs take viewers into his sons' world in the same up-close way that he experiences it.

      Hall will be speaking at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation at CMHR.